Recently the city council of Frisco, Texas, just 20 miles north of Dallas, voted unanimously to pass an ordinance allowing restaurants to have smoking rooms and cigar lounges. Leading this undertaking was Dee Lincoln, owner of Dee Lincoln Prime steakhouse. Lincoln, an occasional cigar smoker who is sometimes known as the “Queen of Steaks,” now plans to open a cigar lounge adjacent to her restaurant called Havana Dee’s.
Lincoln is no stranger to steak. She previously worked for the Del Frisco Restaurant Group, and Lone Star Steakhouse. In 2009, Dee opened the Dee Lincoln Tasting Room and Bubble Bar, located in the Dallas Cowboys AT&T stadium, which serves wine and Champagne.
Opening its doors in December 2017, the Dee Lincoln Prime steakhouse is 9,700 square feet and features high-end spirits and a diverse menu, along with a sushi and Tequila bar. Frequented by sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers, this steakhouse is located in The Star, a 91-acre entertainment district that includes shopping, dining, a golf course, a hotel and an indoor stadium where you can watch the Cowboys practice. But Lincoln felt there was still more to offer her customers
During her time with Del Friscos, their steakhouses in Dallas and New York City featured smoking rooms (also called Havana Dee’s). When restaurants in both cities became smoke-free, they were forced to convert their smoking lounges to private dining rooms.
Dee felt that the restaurants no longer reflected the full experience that they had in the past following the change. She personally enjoys a mild Macanudo or Fuente cigar now and again with a glass of Port, often smoking with her husband, who enjoys a glass of Scotch with his cigars. “I always felt it was a great way to end an evening with a beautiful Cognac or Scotch and a cigar. I know that a nice amount of my customer base is in demand for it. I’m not building this for everyone—I want a clientele that has an appreciation for great spirits and nice cigars.”
Lincoln always wanted to create a complimentary cigar lounge to her steakhouse. She worked with two mayors and the Frisco city council since 2016 to ensure that she could provide the type of experience she wants to bring to her customers, while still meeting the demands of the Health Department. “They’re not a city that just throws the hammer down and says no,” she says. “They were careful in bracketing it to where people can’t just walk into a bar and smoke.”
The planned Havana Dee’s cigar lounge will be a standalone 1,200 square foot building unconnected to the restaurant with its own private entry, bar and bathrooms to prevent smoke migration to the patrons of the restaurant. No one under the age of 18 will be working in the lounge. The cigar lounge will feature a stocked humidor, but will not be providing lockers.
“The city council was really behind updating the ordinance, with some restrictions, so that it would send a message to the community, and to some incoming businesses: Frisco is a city that says we want to attract new business and attract new people,” Lincoln says. She anticipates to have Havana Dee’s open in August.